MidReal Story

Portal of Enchantment

Scenario: One of my fantastical trips
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One of my fantastical trips
The first time I visited the other world, I was hiking in the mountains.
I’d been following a trail for hours, and I was starting to feel a little desperate.
I’d been drinking water from the stream, but I was hungry, and I was tired, and I was starting to worry that I’d never find my way back to the car.
I was about to turn around and head back down the mountain when I saw it: a cave, half-hidden by a tangle of bushes.
I pushed my way through the underbrush and peered inside.
It was dark in there, but I could see that it went back a long way.
I hesitated for a moment, then shrugged and stepped inside.
It wasn’t like I had anything better to do.
The cave was cool and damp, and it smelled like wet earth and moss.
I walked slowly down the narrow passageway, running my hands along the rough stone walls.
I could see a faint light up ahead, and I hurried toward it, eager to see what was there.
When I stepped out of the cave, I found myself in a wide valley, surrounded by towering mountains.
The valley was green and lush, with fields of wildflowers as far as the eye could see.
I’d never been here before, but I knew that I was deep in the heart of the other world.
I’d been here once before, and I’d met some of the people who lived here.
They’d told me that this world was in danger, and that only I could save it.
I hadn’t known what they meant at the time, but now, as I looked around the valley, I realized that my journey was just beginning.
I took a deep breath and set off down the trail.
It was a long hike to the other side of the valley, and by the time I got there, I was tired and hot and thirsty.
I stopped for a drink at a small stream that ran alongside the trail and splashed some water on my face to cool off.
Then I hoisted my pack onto my shoulders and trudged on down the path.
The trail went on forever—or at least it felt like it did.
I must have been walking for hours, but it seemed like I was no closer to my destination than when I’d started.
The thrill of exploring new territory had long since worn off, and now all I wanted was to find what I was looking for and go home.
I was getting hungry—I hadn’t had breakfast before I left—and I was thirsty too, despite the fact that I’d been drinking from the stream at every opportunity.
In fact, as I walked down the trail, I realized that I was very thirsty indeed.
My mouth felt like cotton, and my lips were dry and cracked.
I took another drink from my canteen, but it didn’t help much.
Maybe I should turn back, I thought.
Maybe this is a sign that I should go home before it’s too late.
But something stopped me—stubbornness, maybe, or fear of admitting defeat.
I didn’t want to give up, not when I was so close to finding what I came for.
And yet … as I trudged on down the trail, part of me couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right.
That this wasn’t just another hike in the mountains—that this time, this place, was different.
Where am I going?
How much time had passed since I first entered the cave?
It felt like hours—morning had turned into afternoon, and afternoon into evening—but it was hard to be sure.
The sun had set behind the mountains by the time I reached the end of the trail.
I stopped for a moment and looked around, but it was too dark to see much of anything.
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My heart pounded in my chest.
What was I doing here?
Why had I come this way?
Why was I so sure that what I was looking for was at the other end of this trail?
I hesitated at the mouth of the cave.
For a moment I considered turning back and retracing my steps.
But then I shrugged and stepped inside.
It wasn’t like I had anything better to do.
The cave was cool and damp, and it smelled like wet earth and moss.
I walked slowly down the narrow passageway, running my hands along the rough stone walls.
After a while, the passageway opened up into a large cavern.
I could see a faint light up ahead and I hurried toward it, eager to see what was there.
When I stepped out of the cave, I found myself on a narrow ledge high above a deep ravine.
The sky above me was dark—it must be night—and there were no stars or moon to light my way.
And yet … somehow … there was light down below.
A soft golden glow that seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere all at once.
I stared at it for a long moment, my heart pounding in my chest.
And then I made up my mind.
I took a deep breath, and then I stepped off the ledge and into the darkness.
It felt like I was falling forever, but then suddenly—finally—I hit the ground.
I stood up, dusted myself off, and looked around.
I was in a huge cavern, bigger than any other cave I’d ever seen.
And it wasn’t empty, either.
There were people here, dozens of them, dancing around a large bonfire that crackled merrily in the middle of the cavern.
I stopped for a moment, trying to take it all in.
It seemed like I’d stumbled into some kind of celebration.
The people were dressed in brightly colored clothes, and their faces were painted with strange symbols.
They were singing and dancing and laughing, and their laughter echoed off the walls.
For a moment, I hesitated at the entrance to the cavern, unsure if I should go in or turn around and leave.
But then I caught sight of the bonfire—the golden light that seemed to come from nowhere—and something inside me told me that this was what I’d come for.
I took a deep breath and stepped into the cavern.
No one paid any attention to me when I walked into the cavern.
They were all too busy dancing and singing and laughing around the bonfire.
I hesitated for a moment, unsure what to do, and then I walked over to the bonfire and sat down on one of the logs that had been placed around the edge of it.
At first, I just sat and watched the dancers as they whirled around the fire.
But after a while, my eyes grew heavy, and I lay down on the log and closed my eyes and fell asleep.
When I woke up again, it was morning—or at least it seemed like morning.
The bonfire had burned down to embers, and the dancers were gone.
It smelled like rain outside—I could smell it in the air—and the sky above me was dark and overcast.
It felt like a storm was coming.
I stood up and stretched and looked around.
The people from last night were nowhere to be seen, and this time, when I walked out of the cavern, no one stopped me.
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As far as I could see in every direction, trees stretched into the sky, their slender trunks reaching for heights that seemed impossible.
And yet, somehow they managed it—the branches of the tallest trees arched gracefully over my head, their leaves rustling gently in a breeze that smelled like rain and earth and something else—something sweet and fragrant that made my head swim with its sheer intensity.
When I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply, it almost felt like I could taste it on my tongue—a faint flavor of something so sweet and delicious that my stomach growled hungrily in response.
I opened my eyes—and froze in shock as a flash of movement caught my eye.
I turned—slowly—and looked around me again.
The forest was still deserted—there were no people in sight—but something had changed overnight.
There were animals now—or at least they looked like animals—creatures that scurried along the branches high above my head or darted through the underbrush with flashes of color too bright to be natural.
I took a deep breath and forced myself to stay calm.
This couldn’t be real.
I must have hit my head when I fell down in the cave.
This had to be a dream.
But as I pinched myself—hard—and felt the sharp sting of pain spreading through my skin, I knew that I wasn’t dreaming.
This was real.
In that moment, everything I thought I knew about the world changed.
I stood there for a long moment—my heart pounding in my chest—trying to decide what to do.
Should I go back into the cavern—back through the same hole in the wall that had brought me here?
Or should I stay?
I took a hesitant step forward—toward the nearest tree—and then another.
My boots sank into the soft moss as I walked—muffling the sound of my steps until they were almost silent.
And with every step I took—every brush of my hand against the trunk of a tree or rustle of leaves—I felt more and more like I belonged here.
I couldn’t explain it—I felt like I should have been terrified, or at least confused, by the sudden change in my surroundings—but I wasn’t.
All I felt was an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment, as if some part of me had been waiting for this place all along.
I walked—and walked and walked and walked—until I couldn’t walk anymore.
And then, when my legs were burning and my feet were sore and my stomach was growling with hunger, I sat down on the ground and closed my eyes and listened.
The forest around me was alive with the sounds of birds and insects, each one more beautiful and haunting than the last.
I’d never heard anything like it before—it seemed impossible that so many different creatures could live together in such perfect harmony.
But they did, and as I sat there—surrounded by that symphony of life—I knew that I never wanted to leave.
I had no idea where I was, or how I’d gotten here, or how—or if—I would ever find my way home.
But in that moment, it didn’t matter.
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